Christine Gaoa, Eclectic, Feature, Genre, Music

The Nameless Genre of Up Dharma Down

Music is in the air we breathe, it is tighter, every words bursting into a different dimension of sounds that hit the spot and made a subconscious merge in our tangled-up sensation. What if this kind of music brings in our ears? Well, another band takes the seats in our local music arena. In a scene this vibrant, it’s hard for any act to rise above the clamor, but Up Dharma Down might just be doing so.

One of their more ear- catching pieces is “Sana”, a song about past romance; another is “Taya”, a song about the struggles involved in a relationship that turns sour and their quite break-up song the “Unspoken Definite.”

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Up Dharma Down is a Filipino band with no specific genres but the best way to understand their nameless genre is to press play and listen to their music. They named their band from the concept that everything is interconnectivity and has a purpose of being so. The band composed of four members, being led by Armi Millare (keyboards and vocals), Carlos Tanada (lead guitars), Ean Mayor (drums and loops) and Paul Yap (bass).

The Manila got its first taste of Up Dharma Down on 2004 at Café saGuico-a proving ground for Manila’s young bands- and immediately caught the attention of local cognoscenti. Since then, the band have played in regional music festivals, received numerous nominations and garnered recognition for their work from award-giving bodies: NU107 In The Raw Award (2005), NU107 Best New Artist (2006), NU107 Best Female Award (2006), and MYX Favorite Indie Artist(2008), Avima2010 Best Female Vocalist, AVIMA 2010 Best Video (Sana), AVIMA 2009 Best Female Vocalist, NU 107 Rock Awards 2009 Artist of the Year, NU 107 Rock Awards 2009 Album of the Year (Bipolar), NU 107 Rock Awards 2009 Vocalist of the Year, NU 107 Rock 2005 In The Raw Award, NU 107 Rock Awards 2006 Best New Artist, NU 107 Rock Awards 2006 Best Female Award, MYX Music Awards 2008 Favorite Indie Artist. Up Dharma Down was also the first Filipino band to appear on MTV’s Advance Warning, a showcase of up-and-coming international artists that has featured the likes of the U.K.’s Bloc Party and Canada’s Arcade Fire.

Their influences range from Jill Scott, Robert Plant, The Blue Nile, Janis Joplin, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, The Cure Incognito, Spyro Gyra, Zero 7, Photek and  Portishead and even John Williams to name only a few of the band’s list of their musical heroes. The band was influenced by so many but they were able to balance and combine everything and they make music that manages to be both thoughtful and sensual. Their generic goal is “to be heard” for that is something promising.

Perhaps, we would say that music is immortal, most famous artistic musicians of all time spent years pleasing churches and courts. But we can be artists in our own mind as well, expressing emotion in every touch and every breath but don’t expect to convey emotion through music if you haven’t lived enough life to understand the full spectrum of human feelings.


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